[Numeracy 402] Transitions to college: Foundational Skills

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Andrew Isom isom at centerforliteracy.org
Fri Jun 18 12:56:02 EDT 2010

Since most of the students who will attend college that I work with will start at our local community college, I contacted them to ask what skill sets students should have before entering the program. They directed me to the non-credit foundational skills class (,which other posters have mentioned.)

This is what they cover in that course, so I would do well to have all of my students proficient at these:

MATH 016 Arithmetic
Integers, fractions, decimals, scientific notation, ratio and proportion, percents, geometry and measurement, applications, approximations, use of a scientific calculator. Credit will not apply toward graduation.

Though, I'm not certain what "applications" means here. Word problems? Tables, graphs and charts?

Seems like a good foundation. I don't see the value of higher algebra and trig, as one person mentioned. Those are fun subjects for the sake of challenging thought puzzles, but I don't see the necessity of it, at least pre-college. If a student will have to know it for their field, they will have to take courses on it anyway (and what fields even require those anymore, other than mathematics?)

Someone who responded to my last post directly made a pointed remark: much better to learn a few things in depth, then to learn a lot shallowly. I would echo that remark.

Andrew J. Isom
Math Specialist
Center For Literacy
North Philadelphia Community High School
isom at centerforliteracy.org
(215)744-6000 ext. 210

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